to help us." that's my mandate. i don't presume that because i won an election, that everybody suddenly agrees with me on any... everything. >> reporter: and the president directly challenged republicans to drop the tax breaks for the better-off. >> a modest tax increase on the wealthy is not going to break their backs. they'll still be wealthy, and it will not impinge on business investment. but what i will not do is to have a process that is vague, that says we're going to sort of, kind of raise revenue through dynamic scoring or closing loopholes that have not been identified. and the reason i won't do that is because i don't want to find ourselves in a position six months from now or a year from now where, lo and behold, the only way to close the deficit is to sock it to middle-class families >> reporter: still, mr. oba stopped short of saying flatly that it's a deal breaker if republicans insist on keeping tax rates for the rich where they are now. >> i'm less concerned about red lines, per se. what i'm concerned about is not finding ourselves in a situation where the wealthy aren'